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- Alaska Statutes.
- Title 21. Insurance
- Chapter 7. Regulation of Managed Care Insurance Plans
- Section 50. External Health Care Appeals.
previous: Section 40
. Confidentiality of Managed Care Information.
next: Section 60
. Qualifications of External Appeal Agencies.
AS 21.07.050. External Health Care Appeals.
- (a) A managed care entity offering a managed care plan shall provide for an external appeal process that meets
the requirements of this section in the case of an externally appealable decision for which a timely appeal is made in
writing either by the managed care entity or by the covered person.
- (b) A managed care entity may condition the use of an external appeal process in the case of an externally appealable
decision upon a final decision in an internal appeal under AS 21.07.020
, but only if the decision is made in a timely basis consistent with the deadlines provided under this chapter.
- (c) Except as provided in this subsection, the external appeal process shall be conducted under a contract between the
managed care entity and one or more external appeal agencies that have qualified under AS 21.07.060. The managed care entity shall provide
- (1) that the selection process among external appeal agencies qualifying under AS 21.07.060
does not create any incentives for external appeal agencies to make a decision in a biased manner;
- (2) for auditing a sample of decisions by external appeal agencies to ensure that decisions are not made in a biased
- (3) that all costs of the process, except those incurred by the covered person or treating professional in support of the
appeal, shall be paid by the managed care entity and not by the covered person.
- (d) An external appeal process must include at least the following:
- (1) a fair, de novo determination based on coverage provided by the plan and by applying terms as defined by the plan;
however, nothing in this paragraph may be construed as providing for coverage of items and services for which benefits
are excluded under the plan or coverage;
- (2) an external appeal agency shall determine whether the managed care entity's decision is (A) in accordance with the
medical needs of the patient involved, as determined by the managed care entity, taking into account, as of the time of
the managed care entity's decision, the patient's medical needs and any relevant and reliable evidence the agency
obtains under (3) of this subsection, and (B) in accordance with the scope of the covered benefits under the plan; if
the agency determines the decision complies with this paragraph, the agency shall affirm the decision, and, to the
extent that the agency determines the decision is not in accordance with this paragraph, the agency shall reverse or
modify the decision;
- (3) the external appeal agency shall include among the evidence taken into consideration
- (A) the decision made by the managed care entity upon internal appeal under AS 21.07.020
and any guidelines or standards used by the managed care entity in reaching a decision;
- (B) any personal health and medical information supplied with respect to the individual whose denial of claim for benefits
has been appealed;
- (C) the opinion of the individual's treating physician or health care provider; and
- (D) the managed care plan;
- (4) the external appeal agency may also take into consideration the following evidence:
- (A) the results of studies that meet professionally recognized standards of validity and replicability or that have been
published in peer-reviewed journals;
- (B) the results of professional consensus conferences conducted or financed in whole or in part by one or more government
- (C) practice and treatment guidelines prepared or financed in whole or in part by government agencies;
- (D) government-issued coverage and treatment policies;
- (E) generally accepted principles of professional medical practice;
- (F) to the extent that the agency determines it to be free of any conflict of interest, the opinions of individuals who
are qualified as experts in one or more fields of health care that are directly related to the matters under appeal;
- (G) to the extent that the agency determines it to be free of any conflict of interest, the results of peer reviews
conducted by the managed care entity involved;
- (H) the community standard of care; and
- (I) anomalous utilization patterns;
- (5) an external appeal agency shall determine
- (A) whether a denial of a claim for benefits is an externally appealable decision;
- (B) whether an externally appealable decision involves an expedited appeal; and
- (C) for purposes of initiating an external review, whether the internal appeal process has been completed;
- (6) a party to an externally appealable decision may submit evidence related to the issues in dispute;
- (7) the managed care entity involved shall provide the external appeal agency with access to information and to provisions
of the plan or health insurance coverage relating to the matter of the externally appealable decision, as determined by
the external appeal agency; and
- (8) a determination by the external appeal agency on the decision must
- (A) be made orally or in writing and, if it is made orally, shall be supplied to the parties in writing as soon as
- (B) be made in accordance with the medical exigencies of the case involved, but in no event later than 21 working days
after the appeal is filed, or, in the case of an expedited appeal, 72 hours after the time of requesting an external
appeal of the managed care entity's decision;
- (C) state, in layperson's language, the basis for the determination, including, if relevant, any basis in the terms or
conditions of the plan or coverage; and
- (D) inform the covered person of the individual's rights, including any time limits, to seek further review by the courts of the
external appeal determination.
- (e) If the external appeal agency reverses or modifies the denial of a claim for benefits, the managed care entity shall
- (1) upon receipt of the determination, authorize benefits in accordance with that determination;
- (2) take action as may be necessary to provide benefits, including items or services, in a timely manner consistent with
the determination; and
- (3) submit information to the external appeal agency documenting compliance with the agency's determination.
- (f) A decision of an external appeal agency is binding unless a person who is aggrieved by a final decision of an external
appeal agency appeals the decision to the superior court.
- (g) An appeal of a final decision of an external appeal agency must be filed within six months after the date of the
decision of the external appeal agency.
- (h) In this section, "externally appealable decision"
- (1) means
- (A) a denial of a claim for benefits that is based in whole or in part on a decision that the item or service is not
medically necessary or appropriate or is investigational or experimental, or in which the decision as to whether a
benefit is covered involves a medical judgment; or
- (B) a denial that is based on a failure to meet an applicable deadline for internal appeal under AS 21.07.020
- (2) does not include a decision based on specific exclusions or express limitations on the amount, duration, or scope of
coverage that do not involve medical judgment, or a decision regarding whether an individual is a participant,
beneficiary, or other covered person under the plan or coverage.
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